Explain your business in thirty seconds or less.
Proven Goods Co is a bakery in Newcastle upon Tyne that specialises in small-batch, handmade, slow-proven doughnuts made from scratch using no artificial preservatives, as well as fillings and glazings. We provide delicious, old-fashioned doughnuts to customers and events, taking custom orders and also providing excellent coffee and other proven goods.
Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
Our premises is currently a light industrial unit set within Hoults Yard in Byker, just outside of the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is situated next to the creative hub of the Ouseburn Valley and alongside the River Tyne, which when followed takes you along the Quayside and past the famous Free Trade Inn pub, Baltic Art Gallery, Sage Music Venue and, on Sundays, the famous Quayside Market. The Quayside itself is just a few minutes’ walk under and through Newcastle’s landmark bridges from the centre of town and is where Proven Goods Co can be found.
How did you come up with the idea?
After working together in our previous roles by developing exciting new bookshop cafes and introducing third-wave coffee to Waterstones branches in London, as well as creating Dillons cafes across multiple stores to help bring an exciting new relevance to bookshops, we ventured out together on a three-month research trip to a few cities we thought would inspire us.
We went to Copenhagen and tried numerous cinnamon and cardamom buns in sleek Scandinavian spaces, Californian hipster coffee joints on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and San Francisco, and finally amazing grilled cheese sandwiches in launderette cafes and weird and wonderful doughnuts in Portland, Oregon. Following which, we decided we had to combine our talents once again and, instead of using them to forward the Waterstones vision, we decided to channel them into our own business idea.
What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
Trading from a stall on Newcastle & Tynemouth markets at weekends.
How have you used it to grow your business?
From our eight months of trading at local markets, starting at Tynemouth Market every Sunday and now at the Quayside Market on Sundays, as well as dedicated food markets and food festivals, our thoughts were confirmed that the people of Newcastle are particularly receptive and hungry for real doughnuts.
Once we built a solid customer base, we planned to work on expanding once we were sure we had demand for our product. We have been met with extremely positive feedback and consistent orders from local businesses and enquiries from customers for weddings and events, so much so that we could not possibly keep up with the growing demand at our current rate of output and required premises.
Biggest achievement so far?
Generating growth and cashflow, which has allowed us to take on an additional member of staff. Seeing as demand continues to grow, we are already looking at hiring a further member of staff.
What’s next for your business?
Our aspirations for the business in three years’ time would be to expand into another small bakery and coffee premises in the Gosforth area of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is situated just north of the city centre.